web analytics
January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Behind The Mossad Curtain: An Interview with Author Dan Raviv


Dan Raviv

Dan Raviv

Having studied the pattern of Israeli intelligence, I believe the Mossad still places people in enemy countries, even for long periods of time.

I don’t think the CIA placed spies in communist countries in the same way that Israel does in Arab countries. Frankly it is something that Russia did in various countries. In a way, the Mossad perhaps thinks the same way the KGB used to think.

Eli Cohen was born and raised in Egypt and therefore knew Arabic and Arabic culture intimately. Few young Israelis nowadays, however, have that type of background. Would that perhaps impact the Mossad’s ability to place undercover agents in Arab countries?

Eli Cohen was born in Egypt but he posed as a Syrian. So he knew Arabic, but he had to change his accent radically and also undergo a lot of training.

To answer your question, Israeli intelligence people have told us that they have no lack of volunteers. Many Israelis still speak a lot of foreign languages, often from their family connections, plus they receive the training that the Mossad is so good at. I think they have plenty of operatives.

Switching to more recent times: In 2010, the Mossad assassinated Palestinian terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. A month later, Dubai’s police released the photos of 27 Israelis whom it claimed were involved in the operation. At the time, many expressed surprise that Mossad agents would let themselves get caught on camera. What is your take?

We believe there was really no choice – that in a modern city, you have to expect security cameras everywhere. Therefore, the Mossad operatives altered their appearance – at least slightly – so that police could not identify them. The head of the Mossad at the time, Meir Dagan, is not embarrassed about the mission at all. He considers it a success.

I did hear from at least two senior people in Israeli intelligence, however, who thought it was terrible that the agents were photographed. So perhaps not everybody agrees with Dagan.

One would think that being caught on camera is a career-ender for a covert operative.

The phrase usually is that “you are burned.” But it’s our understanding that at least some of those operatives are still active. That’s all I can say.

Were you concerned in writing this book that you were perhaps revealing sensitive information and thus harming Israel?

There was concern, but my co-author, Yossi Melman, really knows how to carefully walk the line between analyzing what Israeli intelligence does and giving away dangerous information. We submitted our material to the Israeli military censor, and the censor did not ask for anything significant to be deleted.

In the book, you discuss the Mossad’s longstanding relationship with the CIA. How did that relationship begin?

In 1956, a Polish Jew in Warsaw got the text of a secret speech by Nikita Khrushchev [exposing the crimes of Joseph Stalin] that all the Western intelligence agencies had been looking for. This Jew’s girlfriend worked for the Polish communist party, and he noticed a copy of the speech that had just been sent from Moscow to the head of the Polish Communist Party.

He asked his girlfriend if he could borrow it for a few hours, and he brought it to the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw. It was subsequently sent to Israeli intelligence chiefs in Tel Aviv and Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion immediately agreed to share it with the United States. The CIA was thrilled, and this really put Israeli intelligence on the world map at a time when Israel was barely eight years old.

It’s amazing that such a strong relationship could have started as the result of a fluke. This Polish Jew, after all, had nothing to do with the world of intelligence and basically stumbled upon this speech.

Good intelligence agencies take advantage of all sorts of flukes and coincidences. Israel has had a lot of good luck. In many cases, the Mossad created those situations, but picking up that speech in Warsaw was just a lucky find – a Jewish man with a well-placed girlfriend.

Who would you say benefits more from the Mossad-CIA relationship, Israel or the United States?

I would say Israel. While Israel seems like a regional superpower, it’s worth remembering that it’s a tiny country with only seven million people. It really needs the alliance with the U.S.

About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and author of “Movers and Shakers: Sixty Prominent Personalities Speak Their Mind on Tape” (Brenn Books).


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Behind The Mossad Curtain: An Interview with Author Dan Raviv”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Indepth Stories
Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Eller-013015

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

More Articles from Elliot Resnick
Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Resnick-012315-Artist

Nouril concluded he had no choice: He had to become more observant.

I was very pro-Israel, I was very proud of being Jewish, and I was living in New York at the time as a single man in my 20s and I was just looking for a little bit more.

A school voucher means the state is giving you a voucher to send your kid to whatever school you want. That might be problematic as far church-state issues are concerned.

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

To many Orthodox Jews the issue is “Permitted & Prohibited;” “Right & Wrong” barely considered,

You can’t say “Jewish French,” “Jewish British,” “Jewish Italian.” They are “French Jews,” “British Jews,” and “Italian Jews” – because they’re seen as Jews first and residents or citizens of their countries second.

Another thing they have been covering up is the nature of the building that was attacked. To this day people refer to it as a consulate or an embassy, but it wasn’t.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/behind-the-mossad-curtain-an-interview-with-author-dan-raviv/2012/09/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: